Today I was talking to a person I work with, and she told me that she has started taking a new herb called Essiac. The actual mixture she is taking contains some other herbs, and the assortment is called "Flor-Essence." She said she has read about Essiac, and that it is supposed to have an affect on and possibly cure cancer and diabetes. Naturally, I am skeptical, and I was wondering what your view was on this herb.
Fascinating stuff. I found a web site you might want to check out(http://www.essiacinfo.org) that has a lot of information.
First, I am always skeptical of cancer cures that are not "common knowledge." Really, if someone found something that reliably cured cancer, don't you think they would be front-page news - statues would be commissioned and they would probably receive a Nobel prize.
That aside, however, there may be something,
somewhere that might work for someone if all of the
events are in the correct place. So, I don’t want to
dismiss essiac out of hand.
Here is a reported composition of essiac (from
http://www.herbalists.on.ca). Approximately 30 to 35
grams per batch (one ounce = 28.35 grams):
- Burdock Root pieces (Arctium lappa radix) (cut/sifted) 10 grams
- Rhubarb Root pieces (Rheum officinale radix) (cut/sifted) 5 grams
- Slippery Elm Bark pieces (Ulmus fulva cortex) (cut/sifted) 5 grams
- Sheep Sorrel Herb (Rumex acetifolia herba) (cut/sifted) 10 grams
- Red Clover Blossom* (Trifolium pratense flora) (cut/sifted) 5 grams - (*=optional)
The efficacy of burdock has not been confirmed in any test either here or in Germany (where they have a very long history of using and scientifically testing herbal preparations.) The German pharmacopoeia does not recommend its use.
Rhubarb on the other hand has some positive reports
and a long history of use in Chinese medicine,
particularly in treating gastrointestinal diseases.
I cannot find any comment about Slippery Elm or
Sheep Sorrel in any of my references.
Red clover is a good cough medicine and has been
used in food products for many years.
In short, I do not think the stuff is likely to be
harmful, but it does not show much promise to be helpful
Source: Douglas Holt, Ph.D., Chair
of Food Science Program & State Extension Specialist for
Food Safety, University of Missouri-Columbia
Last update: Tuesday, May 05, 2009